Almost all of us have read the story of Anne Frank, but we surely all picture it quite differently. Most of us have seen the photos used on the various covers of The Diary of a Young Girl, and some of us have even gone to Amsterdam and walked through the home in which she wrote it. But now, thanks to the internet, we have access to historical imagery that can help everyone envision the life of Anne Frank a bit more clearly.
Many years ago, we featured the only existing film of Frank, a 20-second clip from July 22, 1941 in which she looks on as a bride and groom pass below her window. Though short, the invaluable footage breathes a surprising amount of life into the cultural image of perhaps the 20th century’s most important diarist.
Even more comes from the 3D tour of her house and hiding place more recently made available online. The tour’s interface, with which anyone who played 1990s graphic adventure games like Myst will feel immediately familiar, gives you a first-person view behind the bookcase which for two years kept the Frank family’s living quarters a secret from Amsterdam’s Nazi occupiers.
The tour’s creators have loaded the digital recreation of the house with different spots that, when clicked, tell in audio of a certain aspect of the Franks’ experience there. The farther we get from the Second World War, the more these events might seem, to students reading about them for the first time, like a piece of capital‑H History disconnected from their own experience. But resources like these keep the story of Anne Frank and its lessons feeling as immediate as they should.
You can enter the tour here.
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.